Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lessons Learned Sweeping the Headlands Hundred Course

This past Sunday, I volunteered at the Headlands Hundred. I took on the task of sweeping 17 miles of the 25 mile loop. Armed with a ton of podcasts, sunscreen and a camelback I set out to clean up the course that witnessed local Nathan Yanko take home the win in his very first 100. Nice job, Nathan!

Course Markings are Heavy!
It may have been the fact that this was an overnight race, but, sheesh, course markings are heavy. Course flags, clothespins, glow sticks, those little metal flag thingies, signs and tent stakes (!) add up quickly, especially on a course as well marked as this one was. Between the start at Rodeo Beach and and Tennessee Valley, I picked up at least 15 lbs worth of stuff (including a few gel wrappers). I was glad to leave those course markings at the Tennessee Valley aid station and head back out with an empty bag. (Btw, it was fun to hang out at an aid station for longer than 30 seconds for once. I enjoyed my 45 minutes there).

It Takes Longer Than You Think
With all that extra weight and the time it takes to pick everything up, it really takes some time to clean up a course. I ended up doing 20 miles (added some out-and-backs for good measure) in five hours. That's probably about two hours longer than it would have taken during a normal run.

Sweeping Is A Fantastic Workout
Boy, was I tired. You run 20 miles, but it's more like a 25-28 mile effort. I was BEAT afterwards.

You Become An Ambassador For The Sport
About 20 people must have stopped and asked me what the course markings were for. "A race" was my usual answer. The reactions were all over the board. Some were "just happy that people are finally cleaning up after themselves" while others (most) were completely taken aback by the distance (50/100 m) of the race. You end up talking a lot about your sport. "People run for that long?" Yes, sir, they do.


Peter Lubbers said...

Dave, you're a true ambassador of the sport!
It's fun to look at things from the other side once in a while. These races require a lot of volunteer effort and until you do it you have no idea.

Gretchen said...

Nice job out there kid! Seriously, 15 lbs worth of flagging and course markings? Wow! It's so easy to forget that even when we are done running, there is still a ton of work to do for the volunteers. Thanks!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

15 pounds. You're a stud! Thanks.

Luckily you didn't have to clean up the little mess I made near Conzelman...

Jean Pommier said...

Nice post, Dave, and great testimony for all the facets of our sport. THANK YOU!

I ran a short one this morning (Quicksilver Half) and the Park forbids ribbons or any other artificial stuff. So just chalk. Which works for day time runs but not much night time...

Thanks again for having volunteered and given back to the community this way!

Farther Faster